China's legislative body, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), has put on its agenda an amendment of the Criminal Code to toughen up penalties for those responsible for production accidents, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Wednesday.
"The NPC Standing Committee agrees that the seven-year maximum jail term is too light and has placed the amendment on its agenda for this year," said Peng Yujing, an official in charge of policy making at the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS).
Zhang Qiong, deputy director of the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council confirmed the development. "The NPC Standing Committee is studying the possibility of increasing the jail term for breaching work safety laws to impose tougher penalties on those lawbreakers," he said.
China currently has over 20 laws and administrative decrees concerning work safety but some of them are believed to be too outdated and no longer relevant.
China has in recent years witnessed a sharp rise of work related accidents particularly in mining and construction.
Li Yizhong, head of the SAWS, called for the amending of work safety laws last week and suggested the current legislation was too soft to deter the lawbreakers.
According to latest SAWS figures China recorded 52 major accidents between January 1 and June 25 which resulted in the deaths of 827 people. The death toll is 482 less than for the same period of last year.
(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2006)